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There has recently been much interest in stream processing, both in industry (e.g., Cell, NVIDIA G80, ATI R580) and academia (e.g., Stanford Merrimac, MIT RAW), with stream programs becoming increasingly popular for both media and more general-purpose computing. Although a special style of programming called stream programming is needed to target these stream architectures, huge performance benefits can be achieved. In this paper, the authors minimally add architectural features to commodity general-purpose processors (e.g., Intel/AMD) to efficiently support the stream execution model. They design the extensions to reuse existing components of the general-purpose processor hardware as much as possible by investigating low-cost modifications to the CPU caches, hardware pre-fetcher, and the execution core.
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